GIRE: FFX

Occasionally, I won't have a Tuesday thought post about writing or writing-related stuff. So, for those days, or for the time being, I'm going to talk about GIRE, or Games I Really Enjoy. So, you'll see these pop up here and there when I need a filler.

Like, today.

IN MY DEFENSE:

So usually, I write on Thursday afternoons or Saturday morning before football starts. Wednesdays are kinda an off day for me. So last Wednesday, I was playing Fallout 4 for about an hour to unwind. After I kill some ghouls and some raiders and level up a bit, I go back to my laptop to see that it is dead. 

And then I'm like, haha, that's funny laptop, maybe you're unplugged, haha...<click, click>...whelp.

Long story short, I had to get a new charger and I didn't get it until last night, and then I was caught up doing some last-minute errands that I ended up passing out at the kitchen table this time around.

(I'm going to record DosAguilasTV's next episode there to see if there's a major change in the acoustics)

ANYWAY. 

For this GIRE I'm going to talk about Final Fantasy X.

In a now-defunct blog, I mentioned that I was not a big fan of the Nintendo GameCube. Games that I played were Smash Brothers, Resident Evil 4 (which I didn't beat because I rage-quit right before Disc 1) and FIFA 2003. I was a Nintendo fanboy for many years and it was the first time I was actually disappointed at a Nintendo product. I never had the Virtual Boy, so ha! 

I had most of the Nintendo systems, NES, SNES, Game Boy, Game Boy Color, Game Boy Advance, Nintendo DS and the N64. I only knew one friend who had the Playstation and I was baffled as to why anyone would play any sort of console where you had to wait 5 minutes for the next scene to load. I also think the N64 controller gets a lot of undue hate because people are weird. I love it, but then again it might be the nostalgia speaking.

In 2004, I got the PS2.

SPOILERS FOR A 14-YEAR-OLD-GAME FOLLOW

It broke the Nintendo-inspired stranglehold by showing me that it wasn't the PSX where I waited FOREVER for something to load. This was a new and exciting thing and the first game I had for it was FFX. I don't remember why I picked FFX. 

Before that, the only Final Fantasy I had played had been FFI on the NES but I was really bad at it. I didn't realize how save points worked and was justifiably upset when I beat Garland in the first dungeon and then lost my party soon after in the next area. Back to the beginning, back to discovering some other game like Adventure Island, Dr. Mario, Felix the Cat, Super Mario 3, or Yoshi's Cookie, back to forgetting about RPGs until later in my life.

It was night when I turned on FFX, and with the sound system I had, THOSE NOTES flooded in.

Why did I pick Final Fantasy X? I can’t remember. But what I do remember is the soundscape the first few notes of To Zanarkand created in my room. I was in love. I thought the gameplay was great, I thought the music was amazing, and I still, somewhere, have the entire soundtrack that a friend burned on CDs for me in 2005. 

It would take me some time to definitely understand the awesomeness of FFX because I was completely new to RPGs and leveling trees. So on my first playthrough, I had every character underleveled and with the wrong skillset. My team was so shitty that I was straight up unable to get through Yunalesca. When it comes to games, I don't deal with frustration well, and I hold grudges. For instance, I still hate Donkey Kong 64 because the cartridge glitched out on me right as I was finishing the last timed dungeon before the big boss. Fuck that game.

I gave up on FFX for a few years and then decided one day to just go back to it, and I don't regret it because at that point I had started the path (that my gf would later completely turn me into) of completionism. I leveled my monitos properly this time, turning my Kimahri into a Tidus clone, following the proper skill trees and everything, and getting most everyone's legendary weapon except Lulu's and Tidus because fuck that shit.

(also I hate racing minigames)

This time, my experience was much more enjoyable gameplay wise, but I still really enjoyed the story. 

Basically, Tidus, the main character, is from the past and the monster Sin destroys his city, Zanarkand, and sends him way into the future, where the fancy technological advances of the past are now forbidden by the main religion because they want to keep Sin away. That's it in a nutshell. So for hundreds of years, it'd be a cyclical thing. Sin would appear, then a summoner would trek through the land with their guardians, getting experience and aeons (which are summons) and then finally facing Yunalesca, who tells the summoner, "alright, one of your dudes is going to turn into the final aeon, then he's going to kill you, and you become sin" ad nauseam. 

Gameplay's pretty basic, and it's one of the lower-ranked Final Fantasies by IGN (9/12) and you know what, I don't really care. I've long gone past the point where I give a shit about rankings and reviews because taste is subjective. For instance, everyone loves Ernest Cline's Ready Player One and I thought it was a bit overrated. So I stand by my choice of FFX.

One of the biggest appeals to me is obviously the music. It's very atmospheric and hits you right where you need it to hit you. The song above, for instance, plays a little bit during the intro and then you never hear it again until maybe at the beginning of Act III. For me the song hits close to home because when it appears again it starts playing right as the main character, Tidus, realizes that the home he was taken away from was actually destroyed and there's no realistic way for him to return. I feel I can identify with that as an immigrant.  I mean, my hometown isn't destroyed, but I know that what I grew up with isn't there anymore.

And that knowledge hits him not long after he realizes that the journey he's in ends with Yuna, the summoner dying and her guardians completely resigned to that. I love that. 

And I think Yuna is just as much a main character in terms of development as Tidus is. In many ways I feel this is more her story and you, playing Tidus, are the witness to this girl's quiet determination to fight Sin. The thing is, you don't know that she knows she will die until later in the game. She's known all along and she's still managing to be the heart and soul of the squad.

It's a beautiful game. The re-mastered versions just came out recently, too, with added levels and difficulty, so it's a good chance for you to pick up the game if you haven't.